Published on: 18 September 2017 in Training

Four more directors gain career development opportunities on high profile British dramas

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Directors UK and Creative Skillset’s High-End TV Council are delighted to announce a further four directors who have been selected to take part in the 2017 High-End TV Drama Directors Career Development Programme. 

Launched earlier this year, the High-End TV Drama Directors Career Development Programme aims to give directors a broader understanding and experience of working in High-End drama, and how they differ from lower-budget and continuing drama productions.

Directors Afia Nkrumah, Nimer Rashed, Kate Saxon and Nicole Volavka have been selected as placement directors on three of the UK’s most popular high-quality drama productions: Carnival Films’ Jamestown, BBC Studios’ Silent Witness and Lookout Point/BBC Studios’ Press.

London Film School graduate, Afia Nkrumah, is working on Carnival Films’ Jamestown, alongside director Andy Hay (Spooks, Dickensian and Stan Lee’s Lucky Man). 

Nimer Rashed, an award-winning director, is working on Lookout Point/BBC Studios’s new production Press with director Tom Vaughan (Doctor Foster, Victoria, and The Royals).

Kate Saxon, a director with over 20 years’ experience working across film, television, theatre, games and VR, is working with BBC Studios’ Silent Witness director Colin Teague (Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands, Jekyll & Hyde and Hustle).

Drama director, Nicole Volavka, with over 10 years’ experience working across TV, film and commercials in the UK, Czech Republic, Croatia and Rwanda, is working on BBC Studios’ Silent Witness, with Diarmuid Goggins (Casualty, Hollyoaks and Six Degrees).

The High-End TV Drama Directors Career Development Programme follows on from the 2015 pilot scheme and aims to give directors a broader understanding of working in High-End drama from prep through to post. Earlier this year, as part of the scheme, Tina Gharavi and Samantha Harrie were selected to work on two of the UK’s most popular high end drama productions, Kudos’ The Tunnel: Vengeance and Neal Street Productions’ Call The Midwife.

Laura Adams, Head of Member Services at Directors UK, said: “All four candidates selected for the scheme have shown incredible skill and potential, and will be joining Samantha and Tina as fresh and experienced talent within the industry. With this training we will help diversify the industry’s current landscape and encourage aspiring talent and skills”. 

Kaye Elliott, Programme Lead of High-End Television at Creative Skillset, said: “The High-End TV Drama Levy is delighted to continue its support of this initiative led by Directors UK, who have an outstanding reputation in supporting new, emerging and established directors.  We anticipate many positive outcomes from this exciting and high profile initiative which demonstrates our commitment to developing the skills and supporting the progress of High-End TV drama talent in the industry.”

Richard Fell, Executive Producer for Carnival Films, said: “It is fantastic to be in a position to provide a platform for emerging talent to gain senior experience on large-scale, high-quality scripted series such as Jamestown. We always enjoy working with new directors like Afia Nkrumah who are hugely ambitious and keen to fulfil their creative potential.” 

Richard Stokes, Executive Producer for Silent Witness, at BBC Studios, said: “We are delighted to have been able to place two candidates from the High-End drama scheme on to Silent Witness. The calibre of people applying was so high and we look forward to seeing both Nicole and Kate gain as much experience from our directors as possible. Nicole has already got stuck in and shot some beautiful second unit material for us and I’m sure Kate will approach her placement with equal enthusiasm.”

Paul Gilbert, Producer of Press, at Lookout Point, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Nimer onto the team for Press. Nimer’s already a gifted director and we’re really looking forward to offering him the practical experience and guidance he might need to advance his career to the next level.”

Directors chosen as part of the programme will gain an insight into all areas of High-End TV drama including pre-production, shooting, and post-production; ultimately giving them the skill set needed to be able to direct an episode in the future. The directors will also have access to post-placement support from Directors UK, as well as networking and advice from the production company and the lead director. 

As part of the scheme, there is also a commitment to give the placement director the opportunity to direct 2nd unit where appropriate, and therefore gain an on-screen credit to showcase their experience and help advance their careers within High-End TV drama. 

In light of our ongoing campaigns highlighting the gender and diversity disparity within UK television, Directors UK continues to work closely with broadcasters and commissioners to help increase visibility and access to work opportunities, for fairer employment and career progression for under-represented groups. 

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